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Obama clinches nomination

Written By: - Date published: 1:09 pm, June 4th, 2008 - 44 comments
Categories: us politics - Tags:

Thank God that’s over.

44 comments on “Obama clinches nomination”

  1. slightlyrighty 1

    OK, I am a right of center leaning person but I for one am extremely heartened by the fact that an African American only one generation removed from a hut in a kenyan village is now vying for the most powerful position in the US.

    That he could not only be a candidate, but a viable candidate with a real chance of securing the top job, speaks of an optimism that is sadly lacking in the world today.

    I don’t know enough about the specifics of the man, but his charisma is self evident.

  2. Byron 2

    slightlyrighty, no need for the ‘but’ Obama is right of center too (see the political compass) maybe you’re comment should read “I am a right of center leaning person so I for one am extremely heartened” 😉 that said, he is (ever so slightly) to the left of Clinton.

  3. higherstandard 3

    Hoorah not a Bush or a Clinton in the Whitehouse

  4. andy 4


    I second that…..

  5. “I don’t know enough about the specifics of the man, but his charisma is self evident.”

    that people seem to think that’s enough to qualifiy one for the most powerful job in a coutnry is worrying. Key is trying the same thing on here.

    Fortunately, Key is like a hollow bubble in people’s minds. a single prick (“did you know he wanted us to sedn troops to fight in Iraq?” “Did you know he said ‘we would love to see wages drop’?” “did you know he is going to cut spending and increase borrowing to fund tax cuts for the rich?”) and the bubble bursts.

  6. slightlyrighty 6

    Steve, sadly in politics, and particularly in US politics, charisma is a job requirement.

    John Kerry was the most charismatically challenged candiadte the democrats could have feilded, and that gave us 4 more years of Dubya.

  7. Scribe 7


    An interesting site you link to. You could have chosen to link to this site — http://nj.nationaljournal.com/voteratings/ — which cites a study pointing out that Obama was the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate in 2007.

    Steve (and mark down this time),

    I agree with you (ouch, that hurt). Obama and Key have got to where they are right now based on very little substance. There are five months or so to the respective elections, though, and both will take major hits in that time.

    The good thing for Key is that his party’s WAAAAAAAAAY in front. Obama, though, is virtually neck-and-neck in most polls in a head-to-head with McCain, so the drop-off he experiences will likely see him lose the election.

  8. Byron 8


    Maybe that says something about the other members of the senate 😉
    Just because his voting record is on the left of others doesn’t make his politics ‘left.’ Left in the US really means “less-right” like the political compass site says “Hillary Clinton is popularly perceived as a leftist in the United States while in any other western democracy her record is that of a mainstream conservative” a similar comment could be made about Obama.

    That said, mainstream politics has moved to the right here as well, just not to the same extent, the political compass did an analysis of NZ political parties last election, The Labour party is, in terms of its actual politics, on the right, it’s only left when compared to National.

  9. BeShakey 9

    I wonder how accurate that is, or perhaps its simply my (mis)perception being close to NZ politics. But looking at this it appears that Labour is roughly equally close to National, the Greens, and the Progressives. I don’t really think the chances of a coalition involving each of those is equally likely (and remember this is for 05 where National was much further right than at present). It does provide an interesting view on the Labour/National/Green and Labour/National/Maori axes.

  10. Macky 10

    I hate it when people compare Obama to Key.

    Key is a lot like George W Bush. Key comes to politics as a hobby. Key has no principles. Key is manufactured. Key is a PR exercise with no substance. Key tells you want you want to hear to get your vote. In short, Key is slippery as a snake in wet grass.

    That is how the US got W twice. Is that what NZ wants?

    I know Obama talks change, but no matter who wins in the US there is change. That is how the system works. W can’t run again – thank god! So, it is not the same situation as here in NZ.

  11. Scribe 11


    It does provide an interesting view on the Labour/National/Green and Labour/National/Maori axes.

    Is that more than one axis or more than one axe? 😉

  12. roger nome 12


    Most polls have Obama with a substantial lead. Fox News gives a 3% advantage to McCain though 🙂


    Still too close to call just yet though. Obama has charisma and the “change” meme on his side, so McCain has to be seen as the under-dog in those regards.

  13. Steve Pierson – with due respect, seeing as this is your blog, and I am a mere guest, WTF does John Key have to do with Barack Obama, and why do you guys feel the need to use any thread to denigrate him?

  14. Nedyah Hsan 14


    Because Key ‘borrowed’ the “time for change” mantra

  15. roger nome 15

    IV2 – John Key is looking to become PM of NZ without a policy platform. Most thinking people are unsettled by this – though some of them just dislike the Labour Party that they see in the media so much that want any kind of “change”.

    Others are purely ideologically right-wing so invite Key’s secret agenda- i.e. the fact that he hasn’t announced policy gets them even more exited because they suspect it’s so right-wing that it’s dangerous to announce to the public.

    This is why thinking people on the left are scared of John Key

  16. gobsmacked 16

    The difference between Key and Obama is that just to reach this point (in each case, roughly 5 months out from an election) Obama has been through dozens of lengthy televised debates, countless interviews, all kinds of scrutiny, day in, day out, exhausting and exhaustive, at the hands of some of the toughest media in the world, comprising literally thousands of journalists and other interrogators.

    There’s clearly a lot more there than just charisma, or he would have fallen by the wayside long ago.

    On the other hand, to reach this point Key has had to smile a lot, and say “cheese”.

    John Key: Cheese we can believe in.

  17. Nedyah Hsan

    “Time for a change” has been around for a while. Norm Kirk used it to unseat Holyoake’s government in 1972!

  18. Anyway, the point of my post was that this is a thread about Barack Obama. This is a historic day – an American party selecting an African-American to run for the White House. To turn it into yet ANOTHER Standard thread attacking John Key trivialises Obama’s achievement.

  19. Lew 19

    Well, that’s the first part of that bet lost. Way back before the primaries started I picked Clinton to lose to McCain in the eventual election. Looks like I might lose the second part, too, thought I won’t be too sad either way.

    Bringing it back to Key-Obama, I think a lot of the discourse is interesting. Neither have much real policy, both are positioning themselves as The Future – different futures, but there’s not all that much information about HOW different except what party’s lapel pin they wear (and in what country, natch). Yet people seem to be responding differently to them despite this lack of information, and making no allusions to what they do or don’t actually value.

    As far as Obama goes, and why I hold a higher opinion of him than I do of Key: the fact that he’s black matters a lot to me, and gives his `change’ message an amount of credibility that a middle-aged white man with a finance background can’t muster. Also – the man can speak. I lamented when Tony Blair left Number 10 that English-language politics had lost one of its few genuinely great orators. Don’t care much for Blair’s policies, but he could speak, and that matters. Obama is in the same league. Bill Clinton was arguably so. (Churchill still chairs that great debate in the sky).


    Captcha: `during drinks’. If only.

  20. gobsmacked 20

    Lew, I agree with much of your post, but this:

    “Neither have much real policy”

    is only true of Key. It is not true at all for Obama. Check for yourself:


    There are dozens of sub-headings and details. You could spend the rest of the week reading up on specific policies.

    Then compare with Key’s own website.

  21. Bill 21

    I’d like to believe that Obama as El Presidente would change anything in the US and, by ripple effect, the world. But it will most definitely be business as usual.

    The US is now a corporatist state. EVERYTHING that can be has been or is being outsourced/ privatised..’homeland security’, logistical backup to their armed forces, welfare programmes, prisons, education system…the list goes on.

    Obama could only run with massive underwritings from the corporate sector…same as all the others. He is ‘their’ man. They all are. Forget the fact he is Afro/American. He will do as much positive stuff for them as a section of the population as Margaret Thatcher did for British women in the 80s…sweet F.A.

  22. Scribe 22


    The difference between Key and Obama is that just to reach this point (in each case, roughly 5 months out from an election) Obama has been through dozens of lengthy televised debates, countless interviews, all kinds of scrutiny, day in, day out, exhausting and exhaustive, at the hands of some of the toughest media in the world, comprising literally thousands of journalists and other interrogators.

    The media is undoubtedly in love with Obama, so I think you’re overstating just how much scrutiny he’s come under. Obama did get a tough time in one of the ABC debates, but that’s about it.

    He has been to 57 states, though, (or is it 60?) so he’s obviously campaigning hard 😉

    “Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go. Alaska and Hawaii, I was not allowed to go to even though I really wanted to visit, but my staff would not justify it.”


    Imagine if Bush said this, how big the coverage would have been. Or McCain; he’d have been portrayed as too old to be president.

  23. Nedyah Hsan 23

    As much as I’d like to say it, Obama will be President, it doesn’t smack of much conviction.

    Regardless of the fact the senate is largely democratic, it’s no indication of having a democratic president. Clinton got in when the senate was fully republican.

    Aside from that, MHO is that Americans are too emotionally retarded to entertain the notion of a black president. They can’t even conceive of bi-racial relationships “You go out with a black man? But you’re white!”, something that’s the norm here.

    All power to Obama though, I just don’t think he’s going to be the victor.
    I find it largely amusing that Ron Paul is still running to be a Presidential candidate. Perhaps he’s bored?

  24. roger nome 24


    ” To turn it into yet ANOTHER Standard thread attacking John Key trivialises Obama’s achievement.”

    If you believe that so strongly, why are you attempting to make this thread about John Key?

  25. Scribe 25


    Aside from that, MHO is that Americans are too emotionally retarded to entertain the notion of a black president.

    Not sure if it’s emotional retardation that’s holding them back, but it’s pretty clear to me they won’t vote a black man president. Just look at the Democratic primaries; if there’s race-based voting there, and there certainly has been, then the Dems have thrown all their eggs in the wrong basket. It’s no secret Republicans will be even less likely to vote a black man in.

    Given the low ratings of the Bush administration and dissatisfaction with the Iraq war, John Edwards (or Dodd or Biden or Richardson) may well have waltzed into the White House. But the Dems wanted an out-of-the-box candidate (black man or white woman), but that may now backfire on them because they’re not starting with every voter in play.

  26. Lew 26

    gobsmacked: Thanks, you’re right.


  27. Ben R 27

    “Don’t care much for Blair’s policies, but he could speak, and that matters. Obama is in the same league. Bill Clinton was arguably so. (Churchill still chairs that great debate in the sky).”

    Interesting article by Jon Johannsen in the Listener saying he finds Obama’s speeches are generally far too long.

    Will be interesting to see who he choses as VP. Probably John Edwards? Hard to imagine Hillary being VP.

    “Aside from that, MHO is that Americans are too emotionally retarded to entertain the notion of a black president. They can’t even conceive of bi-racial relationships “You go out with a black man? But you’re white!’, something that’s the norm here.”

    Apparently white men dating black women is something of a taboo within the African American community? The prejudice doesn’t just come from one side.

    In terms of race as a factor in the election, it will be interesting to see whether Obama can win over Hispanic voters, who generally supported Hillary. http://www.newsweek.com/id/104725

  28. roger nome 28


    I think you underestimate the “mood for change” in the US.

    Many people want a shift back to humane liberalism, and are cynical about getting that from an aged, white Republican.

    At this stage Obama’s definitely odds on, though it really depends on whether the corporate media (which ultimately is controlled by only a dozen or so very wealthy individuals) decides to turn on him or not.

  29. Scribe 29


    Maybe you’re right about the mood for change. But, as much as the Dems like talking about a “third Bush term”, McCain is vastly different from Dubya. There will be a fair amount of change if McCain gets in, though not necessarily in the areas the American public want.

    Part of the US mood for change is the desire for less partisanship in Washington. The fact is that McCain has been as bipartisan as anyone in recent memory, which is a marked contrast from Obama who talks about reaching across the aisle but whose record shows little, if any, action in that regard.

    McCain also has unRepublican views on things like climate change and immigration and interrogation etc etc, so he’s going to grab a lot of independents and those racist Democrats who won’t vote for a black man.

    McCain is also much more down-to-earth than Obama. Americans have something of a recent history of voting for guys they’d like to have a beer with; I think McCain wins that (small) demographic.

    Regarding the media, I can’t see the big media folks turning on Obama. How great is the first-black-president story? Too good to try to disrupt.

  30. Lew 30

    Ben: I’ve a lot of time for Jon’s work on leadership, (his paper on Orewa is particularly valuable to my research) so I’ll track this article down. Long or not, Obama is an orator.

    Incidentally, there’s a lot of waffle, mostly among people who don’t really know what they’re talking about, on the `presidentialisation’ of NZ politics. Most people take this to mean that the personality of a leader is seen to trump party policy, but in actuality a presidential system is wildly different. I think with two campaigns running mostly in parallel in the US and NZ we’ll have an interesting case study to look at this idea.


  31. Ben R 31

    “Many people want a shift back to humane liberalism, and are cynical about getting that from an aged, white Republican.”

    Right, so Condoleezza Rice would have been ok then? What has McCain’s skin colour got to do with anything? Would you doubt John Edwards’ commitment to humane liberalism on that basis too?

  32. roger nome 32

    Ben R – it’s more a combination of factors than any one of them. Oh and yes, I think Condoleezza Rice(without her “bush connection”) could sell a platform based on humane liberalism better than McCain could.

    Like it or not demographic status has an impact – even if only for the way that the media uses culturally recognisable “frames” to elicit associations between a candidate and certain characteristics supposedly associated with their demographic.

    i.e. “welfare’ portfolios are often handled by women for this reason because they’re seen to have “caring” and “nurturing” qualities etc . Because of the qualities ascribed to them the’re seen to be more “credible” in those roles.

  33. roger nome said “IV2
    “To turn it into yet ANOTHER Standard thread attacking John Key trivialises Obama’s achievement.’

    If you believe that so strongly, why are you attempting to make this thread about John Key?”

    Aw gee – actually rog, I didn’t. Steve P did, about five posts in

    “Steve Pierson
    June 4, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    “I don’t know enough about the specifics of the man, but his charisma is self evident.’

    that people seem to think that’s enough to qualifiy one for the most powerful job in a coutnry is worrying. Key is trying the same thing on here.

    Fortunately, Key is like a hollow bubble in people’s minds. a single prick (‘did you know he wanted us to sedn troops to fight in Iraq?’ “Did you know he said ‘we would love to see wages drop’?’ “did you know he is going to cut spending and increase borrowing to fund tax cuts for the rich?’) and the bubble bursts.”

    So roger nome – just in case you’re too obtuse to notice; the thread is entitled “Obama clinches nomination” – Steve doesn’t mention Obama at all, but twice refers to Key in unflattering terms. I would have thought that after his earlier “gossip” thread about Key “buying” his seat, he had an adequate forum to attack Key. But to me, it simply adds to the perception that The Standard exists soley to denigrate Key. However, as I said in the first contribution to this thread, it’s his blog, and I am a mere guest!

  34. Quoth the Raven 34

    Thanks for the link Gobsmacked. Glancing at his policies I see he is more right wing than I thought (It would be nice if we could get this much information from John Key). Looks like all America is getting is a change of face. Not that I ever expected there to be real change in America.

  35. So its Obama versus old man McCain.

    I’m afraid Faux News is going to crucify Obama, every person from his church will be interviewed saying wacky things.

  36. Pascal's bookie 36

    Scribe, McCain has a reputation for being a mavericky bipartisan that his record doesn’t live up to. On his signature claims in this regard he has backtracked in order to get the nomination.

    He voted to allow the CIA to use torture, the bill passed anyway but Bush vetoed it. On gay rights and other social issues he has gone from calling the hard right ‘agents of intolerance’ to courting their votes and endorsments. On “Executive authority” he has gone from saying that the President must obey all laws passed by congress regardless of circumstances, to of course the President can ask telecom. companies to spy on US citizens without warrants and of course they should comply. He has gone from saying that Bush’s tax cuts were reckless, to saying he will not only extend them, but massively increase them. He is BushIII in any way that matters.

    Obama has shown that he can work accross the aisle in many places. The senate in the last few years has not been conducive to this because the GOP has been the party of NO. They have fillibusted and held up more legislation in the last two years than any other congressional minority has managed to do in four. So it’s pretty rich to blame Obama for this.

    Back in his state career many Republicans speak well of him. He managed to pass a law requiring video taping of confessions and interrogations for suspects in death penalty cases. This law was needed because some convicted guys were getting off on appeal due to police brutality and suspect confessions.

    Initially he was opposed by the police (who didn’t like being tarred with the nasty stuff), the republicans (who find it hard to look soft with regard to the death penalty), and the democrats (who are scared of the republicans calling them soft on crime). Obama worked the aisle, got the support of the police and the bill passed unanimously. He won everyone over. If you havn’t heard of this it’s because the press loves Obama and really wants to tell his story. But only if it involves him bowling. On account of Obama being such an elitist and all.

    You claim that Obama gets a free ride from the press, noting the state number gaffe. Really? How about the fact that McCain, when speaking on Iraq which is supposed to be his area of super duper knowledge, he can’t get the basics right. Like how many troops were there before the surge. Or who is allied to Iran. Or who the shiites are. Or the strength of AQ in Iraq. Or whether or not Petraeus can drive around without security. How often do these “gaffes” get mentioned in comparison to Obama’s preacher? Which issue more important to Americans according to the polls?

    I think McCain has had the free ride, and that once the nomination gets settled he won’t be able to hide. Obama seems eager to go after him in a way no Democrat candidate has done for a while. McCains speech today was purely defensive, trying to say “I’m not Bush, honest”.

    Good luck with that John, Bush is going to be speaking at your convention and he still has 28 percent support. It’s pathetic but McCain absolutley needs those 28 percenters.

  37. lprent 37

    Brett: I’m afraid I think that Fox news is probably the classic bottom feeder news service. Their ‘news service’ looks far more like an entertainment channel than anything real.

    But I thought people might be amused by this link I ran across while hunting other material.

    Poll: 2004 Election Was Stolen (‘Cept Fox Viewers)

    Typical online poll.

  38. Hey Lynn, wonderful. The left hand side is an almost perfect profile of my own viewing of those US channels that are available here. No wonder I believe the 2004 election was stolen.
    [Captcha: reality sloppy… now I’m starting to believe in the captcha monkey]

  39. Aside from that, MHO is that Americans are too emotionally retarded to entertain the notion of a black president.

    How ridiculous to direct that comment toward Americans in general! As a New Englander, I’ve not met a single person who would vote for McCain! The Northern U.S. is all for Obama! I realize that my country gets a bad rap due to our current politics, but most of us up here believe the past two elections to be entirely corrupt.

  40. Pascal's bookie 40

    Jillian. Agreed.

    In general saying “Americans are like this” is like saying “Europeans are like that”. It’s silly more than anything.

    It’s tempting for those of us on the fringes of the empire to generalise the attitudes of America’s government to her citizens, or to imagine that the stereotype of one region applies across the whole nation.

    It seems to me, looking from afar, that the stereotype often used is the same one that some US politicians use to describe the ‘real American’. That’s unhelpful.

  41. r0b 41

    , but most of us up here believe the past two elections to be entirely corrupt.

    Jillian, I happen to agree. What is being done to make sure that the next one will be better?

  42. higherstandard 42

    Perhaps they should have an EFA in the US r0b ?

  43. Perharps the company making the polling machines shouldnt be dontating money to one of the parties? or at least open up thier software for inspection…

  44. Uroskin 44

    Obama speech to AIPAC: “F*** all change!”

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